Magazine article Gramophone

Goldmark: Die Konigin Von Saba

Magazine article Gramophone

Goldmark: Die Konigin Von Saba

Article excerpt

Goldmark                                [G] Die Konigin von Saba  Katerina HebelkovS mez       Queen of Sheba Nuttaporn Tammathi ten               .Assad Irma Mihelic sop                   Sulamith Karoly Szemeredy bass-bar      King Solomon Kim-Lillian Strebel sop            Astaroth Jin Seok Lee bass               High Priest Kevin Moreno bar                Baal-Haanan Andrei Yvan bass               Temple Guard 

Chorus and Extra Chorus of the Freiburg Theatre; Vocal Ensemble of the Freiburg Musikhochschule; Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra / Fabrice Bollon

CPO (F) (3) CP0555 013-2 (3h 8' * DDD * T/t)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Die Konigin von Saba was the work that put its HungarianJewish composer on the operatic map at its first performance in Vienna in 1875. It was hugely popular on both sides of the Atlantic in its day, though in Britain, the Lord Chamberlain's prohibition against the theatrical representation of Biblical subjects prevented its being heard in London until 1910. Strauss and Mahler were among its many conductors. Caruso was one of several star tenors to play Assad, whose uncontrollable desire for the Queen of Sheba destroys his relationship with his intended bride Sulamith. Lilli Lehmann included both principal female roles in her considerable repertory. Its popularity waned after the First World War, though it was revived annually in Vienna until 1938, when the Nazis banned it.

Goldmark is usually dismissed as eclectic, though his work can also be viewed as adopting a cosmopolitan stance at a time of growing nationalism. Just as he saw no inherent dichotomy between Brahms (a friend) and Wagner (he liked the music but not the man or his opinions), so he perceived no disjunction between elements of Wagnerian methodology and post-Meyerbeerian grand opera. With its four-act/five-scene structure, ballets, grand ceremonials and complex theatrical demands (Assad dies in a sandstorm), Die Konigin von Saba is in many ways a fine example of the latter. Goldmark deploys closed forms the set-piece arias can be analysed in terms of recitative, cavatina and cabaletta--and avoids anything approximating the symphonic development of thematic material. The Wagnerisms lie elsewhere.

The narrative is frequendy cited as derived from Tannhauser, though there are shifts in emphasis. Assad is a warrior and diplomat, rather than an artist. …

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